The O’Donoghues of Coomacullen, Glenflesk and Coologues, County Kerry and Missouri

This pedigree starts in Glenflesk, the homeland of the O’Donoghues of the Glen. Today they are to be found throughout the USA, Ireland and the UK. The main spellings are Donahue, Donahoe and O’Donoghue.


This tree encompasses descendants of Cornelius Donahue and Mary Kealiher who lived in the townland of Coomacullen, parish of Glenflesk, County Kerry during the first half of the 19th century. Thus, the family is one of those constituting the O’Donoghues of the Glen. Coomacullen is situated at the eastern extremity of the glen of the River Flesk, right up against the Kerry-Cork border. The Tithe Applotment Survey of 1833 and Griffith’s 1853 Survey list Cornelius as living in Coomacullen. Residents in the neighborhood remember the family and have identified the particular farm where they lived. Family history has transmitted the names of the five immediate ancestors of Cornelius who are listed.


In this tree family members are identified by a code consisting of a sequence of alternating numerals and letters, such as 5b1c – the third child, John, of the first child, Joe, of the second child, Mike, of the fifth child, Dan, of Cornelius and Mary.

Cornelius and Mary’s children

We know, from parish records, that Cornelius of Coomacullen and Mary Kealiher were married in 1822 and six of their eight known children were baptised in Glenflesk or Killarney. For some reason, records are not extant for Con (2) or Pat (3), even though they were accounted brothers by their siblings.

Cornelius and five children migrated to Missouri

Cornelius, four sons and one daughter emigrated in or about 1856, possibly in two groups, disembarked in New Orleans, and proceeded at once to St. Louis. The four boys all helped construct the Missouri-Pacific railway and settled in places in Missouri ranging from St. Louis to Lamar in the south-west. There is confusion about the fate of Cornelius, who may have stayed with daughter, Peg, as she married a blacksmith in Shenandoah, IL, and dropped off the family radar screen.

The boys and their families have remained in close touch all these succeeding years, especially the

families of Dan (5) and Mike (7), who settled on farms near each other in the neighborhood of Sedalia, MO. Because Mike buried two wives before starting his third family in 1880, many of his grandchildren still flourish and the generation of his great-great grandchildren is still being produced. Thus, Innes (7l1c2), 20/11/00. Some of the families will be seen to be quite large, with many hundred members spanning four generations. Although there is still a concentration in Missouri, the usual American dispersal to all parts has occurred.

Mary Kealiher and three children stayed in Glenflesk

Mary Kealiher, her daughters Mary (4) and Hannah (6), and the oldest son Jeremiah (1) did not emigrate. Mary, because of fear of water, and the others, because they were married with young children. With help from the Glenflesk genealogical expert, Denis Spillane, the US Donahues have re-established contact with the descendants of Jeremiah. His family eventually moved from the glen to Coologues, a townland in the hills above Kilgarvan, down toward Kenmare. They have become known as the Weaver O’Donoghues. In the 1920s and 30s they left Coologues and now can be found in Michigan, Massachusetts, Killarney, Cork and London.

We have failed to trace the descendants of Mary and Hannah, although we know whom they married and the names of some of their children. Nor do we have any information about what kind of Kealiher was Mary, spouse of Cornelius. This is work-in-progress.

In the April issue of the O’Donoghue Society Newsletter we shall recount how we managed to establish this tree. Very recently, we have identified members of the family of Daniel Donoghue and Mary Carey who lived on a farm adjacent to that of Cornelius in the mid 19th Century and, according to present day neighbors, were close relatives. This family is now spread from Australia to the West Coast of the US.

February 2001
Chapter: glenflesk_families
County: Kerry

Specific research interests